Abi Hassen joins EFF hosts Cindy Cohn and Danny O’Brien as they discuss the rise of facial recognition technology, how this increasingly powerful identification tool is ending up in the hands of law enforcement, and what that means for the future of public protest and the right to assemble and associate in public places.
In this episode you’ll learn about:
The Black Movement Law Project, which Abi co-founded, and how it has evolved over time to meet the needs of protesters;
Why the presumption that people don’t have any right to privacy in public spaces is challenged by increasingly powerful identification technologies;
Why we may need to think big when it comes to updating the U.S. law to protect privacy;
How face recognition technology can have a chilling effect on public participation, even when the technology isn’t accurate;
How face recognition technology is already leading to the wrongful arrest of innocent people, as seen in a recent case of a man in Detroit;
How gang laws and anti-terrorism laws have been the foundation of a legal tools that can now be deployed against political activists;
Understanding face recognition technology within the context of a range of powerful surveillance tools in the hands of law enforcement;
How we can start to fix the problems caused by facial recognition through increased transparency, community control, and hard limits on law enforcement use of face recognition technology,
How Abi sees the further goal is to move beyond restricting or regulating specific technologies to a world where public protests are not so necessary, as part of reimagining the role of law enforcement.
Abi is a political philosophy student, attorney, technologist, co-founder of the Black Movement-Law Project, a legal support rapid response group that grew out of the uprisings in Ferguson, Baltimore, and elsewhere. He is also a partner (currently on leave) at O’Neill and Hassen LLP, a law practice focused on indigent criminal defense. Prior to this current positions, he was the Mass Defense Coordinator at the National Lawyers Guild. Abi has also worked as a political campaign manager and strategist, union organizer, and community organizer. He conducts trainings, speaks, and writes on topics of race, technology, (in)justice, and the law. Abi is particularly interested in exploring the dynamic nature of institutions, political movements, and their interactions from the perspective of complex systems theory. You can find Abi on Twitter at @AbiHassen, and his website is https://AbiHassen.com